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SERAP issues ultimatum to govs, Wike to account for N5.9tn, $4.6bn loans

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SERAP issues ultimatum to govs, Wike to account for N5.9tn, $4.6bn loans

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has issued a one-week ultimatum to 36 state governors and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to provide details of loans obtained by their respective states, along with spending specifics totaling N5.9 trillion and $4.6 billion.

In a statement released on Sunday, SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, emphasized the importance of transparency in public spending, stating, “It is in the public interest to publish copies of the loan agreements and details of how the loans obtained are spent.”

The organization called on the governors and the FCT minister to widely publish copies of the loan agreements and spending details to ensure accountability and transparency in the management of public funds.

It urged for the involvement of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the spending of both domestic and external loans.

The ultimatum was prompted by Kaduna State Governor, Uba Sani’s disclosure of the massive debt inherited from his predecessor, Nasir El-Rufai, amounting to $587 million, N85 billion, and 115 contract liabilities.

SERAP expressed concern over the mismanagement of public funds by state governments, including reports of unpaid salaries and pensions, and the alleged use of loans to fund unnecessary expenses such as luxury travels and extravagant lifestyles of politicians.

The organization highlighted the risk of corruption and mismanagement associated with loans obtained by state governments, stressing the need for transparency and accountability in their spending. It emphasized that citizens have a right to scrutinize and participate in government decision-making, especially concerning public funds.

SERAP reminded the governors and the FCT minister of their obligations under international anti-corruption and human rights law, urging them to promote transparency and accountability in the management of public funds.

The organization warned against hiding behind excuses to avoid disclosing loan details, emphasizing that states have clear legal obligations to provide such information under Nigerian laws and international agreements.

The ultimatum serves as a call for greater accountability and transparency in the management of public finances, aimed at ensuring that loans are utilized for the benefit of citizens and not diverted or misappropriated for personal gain.